edtech essa

How do parents really feel about student data?

A new survey gathers surprising insight on parents' opinions about student data gathering, use, and protection.

Parents also said they are open to having electronic education records for their children, but they still express concern over security and privacy.

Seventy-one percent of parents are comfortable with a properly-protected electronic education record being created for their children, and 77 percent of parents believe that this kind of record would be a valuable tool for improving their children’s educational opportunities.

Parents are more likely to support data collection and use in an electronic education record if they know a school or educational service provider is required to ensure security (82 percent) and if the school or educational service provider is required to use the record only for educational purposes (84 percent). Parents worry that their child’s record could be hacked (84 percent) or used against their child by a college or an employer (68 percent).

Educators and policymakers would do well to help parents understand the laws around student data use and privacy–21 percent of parents said they know there are federal laws restricting what public schools can do with students’ information, and another 21 percent said they think there are laws, but they don’t know what those laws entail. Fifty-five percent said they do not know about federal laws related to student data use and privacy.

When it comes to expanded use of technologies in schools, school leaders should:
1. Seek resources to adequately train and support teachers and administrators.
2. Communicate with parents throughout various stages of implementing new technologies.
3. Ensure that new services and products clearly enhance the educational process.

As data is accessed and used, school leaders and educators should:
1. Understand and address parental concerns about which companies receive access to data for product development (e.g., those in partnerships with schools).
2. Work with schools to create and establish clear policies governing disclosure of student data, using existing laws as the baseline.
3. Include parents in the discussion, and communicate regularly to address concerns and build trust among parents, schools, and other partner organizations.

Laura Ascione

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